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Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí (Atógáil) - Leaders' Questions (Resumed) (Continued)

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 985 No. 2

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The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I know I am perhaps not always the most civil person in this House myself but I hope we get to the point at some stage where it is possible for people to disagree with each other without accusing each other of being dishonest or lying. To answer some of the Deputy's questions-----

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Or being on the altar.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath What about the parish priest?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Deputies, we are dealing with this question now.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Did the Taoiseach apologise?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Deputy Michael Healy-Rae, we are dealing with Deputy Bríd Smith's question.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar To answer the Deputy's questions, the decision on whether a money message is required is one for the Ceann Comhairle, who can listen to the case made by the sponsor and by the Government. I respect the Ceann Comhairle's ability to listen to both sides of the argument and to make a decision.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Except the things the Taoiseach told him were not true.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Untruths.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Ceann Comhairle has made that decision.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Untruths; not lies.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Taoiseach, without interruption.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar In relation to the financial transaction to which the Deputy referred, I am not familiar with it. The Government is not party to it. I really cannot comment on it. What the Government wants is sensible climate action that actually reduces greenhouse gas emissions and gives us cleaner air, warmer homes and creates the businesses and jobs of the future. What we do not want is climate action that is counter-productive and that makes us poorer, less secure or that costs people their jobs. The difficulty I have with the Bill proposed by the Deputy is that it does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that natural gas is a transitional fuel we will continue to need to use for the decades ahead.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett All the scientists are wrong.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Therefore, it makes sense to use our own natural gas if we have it. This is why a ban on exploration is not part of the Paris Agreement and why it is not recommended by our climate action council. Perhaps there is a third way and this is something to which I am giving some thought.

With regard to the question on lobbying, it is important to put on the record of the House that lobbying is not a nefarious activity. It is part of democracy. We are all lobbied all of the time, whether it is by-----

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Why did the Taoiseach not report it then?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Deputy, please.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar -----trade unions, the IFA, IBEC or business organisations.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy We have to report it though.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The reason we have a lobbying Act is so they are registered. I checked on this today. There is no record of the meeting because there was no meeting in the Department of the Taoiseach between the two people mentioned by the Deputy. What happened-----

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith So Feargal Purcell is now telling untruths.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Taoiseach without interruption. The Deputy may have another opportunity.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar What happened is that the lobbyist in question asked my adviser to meet him for coffee. He did not tell him the reason for the meeting. Over coffee he raised this issue and he declared it in the lobbying register.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry One more cup of coffee before I go.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett That is lobbying.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar That is the answer to the Deputy's question.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I do not know what language to use but Feargal Purcell has certainly told an untruth, if that is the parliamentary language-----

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley He is not in the House.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith -----because he stated on the lobbying register that he sought the meeting with Mr. Carroll in the Minister's office-----

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley We are not to name private people in here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Deputy cannot make allegations.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith If what the Taoiseach saying is true then what Feargal Purcell says has to be wrong or, at the very least, untrue. He says he sought the meeting to provide information on energy security, the transition to renewable energy and the value to the industry in this economy in the context of the climate emergency measures Bill. That is not a cup of coffee. He registered it on the lobbying register because he saw it as lobbying. Why did the Taoiseach's office not see it as lobbying? Even if it was over a cup of coffee, tell us how long that cup of coffee took and when it took place-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Was there is sugar in it?

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith -----because clearly somebody is saying something that is not correct because it is on the lobbying register as lobbying. The point about all this is there was a deliberate thwarting and blocking of the Bill to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry. The evidence is in the $10 million in the bank this morning. There is the evidence. There is $10 million in the bank this morning and God knows when the next millions will go in. In the meantime, despite the fact the Taoiseach tried to deny it, there is no security on a planet where the temperatures will rise between 2° and 4°; no security whatsoever, despite the Taoiseach's passion and determination to state we need energy security in this country. There is no security on the planet and no security for the schoolchildren standing outside screaming at the Taoiseach to keep it in the ground. That is what people want. They want it kept in the ground.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Taoiseach to respond.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Tonight they will be outside the Dáil protesting and on 20 September, there will be strike action against the Taoiseach's policies.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Taoiseach to respond.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The date was 2 May 2019. I do not know how long it happened, how much the coffee cost or, quite frankly who paid for it.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry Was there sugar in the coffee?

Deputy John Brady: Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady Did he get a sweetener?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar However, if the Deputy wishes to read the lobbying Act, she will know it states the obligation to declare whether lobbying occurred is on the lobbyist.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith That is interesting.


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